I remember when I first started blogging back in the day on a platform called Xanga (am I dating myself here?). It was a platform where you could create a profile and write daily entries, similar to today’s Blogger and Medium. I had always enjoyed writing, and I found it therapeutic to release my inner thoughts and share my viewpoints with the world. But as I became busier with college, I let blogging fade into the background… I’m sure my account still exists somewhere but I can’t even tell you what my screen name or URL is (probably for the best).
I didn’t start to blog again until mid-2016 when I decided to quit my corporate job and travel the world. I started a travel blog called Happynfull (my domain expired and it’s since vanished — oops!) where I documented all of my travel tips and advice through photography and stories. I started it because my friends would always ask me for sightseeing and food recommendations, and instead of repeating myself, I gave them a comprehensive report, complete with links and pictures. I was able to be creative and informative, and it was an outlet that allowed me to learn new skills such as marketing, social media, partnerships, digital collaborations, SEO, Google rankings, etc. I even made money off of my six-month-old blog through affiliate links and sponsorships.
The reason why I let it die, though, is that while it was something I enjoyed, my real baby was CultiVitae! I found myself able to write countless articles on personal development and professional development topics. Since I started blogging there in January 2017, I’ve been very consistent in publishing one article per week — sometimes two. I find myself smiling when I open up a new blank Word document, hit play on my Discover Weekly Spotify playlist, and sip my latte between completed paragraphs. (Cheesy fact: I’m smiling right now.)
How Starting a Blog Has Opened Up More Job and Partnership Opportunities
It’s now been about 11 months since I’ve consistently started publishing articles out there. As of the past two months, I started to consistently receive various emails from companies asking if:
- I would be interested in learning more about new roles or positions
- I would like to review books or products
- I would be willing to advertise
- I would be interested in speaking
- I would like to collaborate or partner for events
While the last four bullet points are geared as benefits for entrepreneurs, I would like to focus on the first bullet as it benefits job-seekers. Hiring managers are impressed when you can demonstrate your knowledge and your passion outside of a resume. If you don’t enjoy writing, that’s okay — blogging isn’t the only answer. You can also showcase your knowledge and passion through mediums such as YouTube (video), Podcasts (speaking), or portfolio work (if you’re a creative with visuals). The point is, actions speak louder than words, and you will stand out from the pile of applicants if you can showcase your enthusiasm for your industry and topic.
Creating a blog has also given me a channel (and excuse) to network with people I admire. I recently connected with the CEO of a company I am impressed with and asked if I would be able to feature them in my upcoming article. That started a dialogue that I would never in a million years think I would have.
Blogging has also helped me contribute articles to companies like The Muse and Elephant Journal, as they requested previous writing samples. At the time, I didn’t have anything published anywhere on the internet except my blog…and they accepted it!
First Steps to Take in Establishing Authority
If you’re thinking, This all sounds great, but I don’t want to put in the time and effort to start and maintain a blog, that’s okay — you can start a hobby channel on any of the platforms I stated earlier. You’ll just want to make sure you have at least three published posts (or videos, episodes, etc.) so that if you do use the platform on your CV or during an interview, you can have multiple samples for review.
YouTube, Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, WordPress, and Quora are all free. Your goal is to share helpful advice and content so that employers can potentially view your wisdom when they Google search your name. We have so many tools and resources available to us in today’s world — just think about where your industry or niche hangs out, and pick one platform to start chiming in on.
The Key Ingredients for Starting a Successful Blog
Research and Setup
For those who are looking to start a successful blog, read on. Unlike my Xanga days, when I started Happynfull and CultiVitae, I treated both blogs as businesses. I knew right away I was going to invest in a domain name, a hosting platform, and a WordPress theme. I conducted a ton of research on SEO, affiliate links, Google rankings, backlinks, no-follows vs do-follows, the power of Pinterest, and whom to collaborate with.
A lot of people say “just start.” This is great if you want a blog to be a hobby, but if you want to actually rank in Google searches and monetize your blog, it helps to do research in advance and make sure everything is set up properly.
Persistence and Dedication
Persistence and dedication are probably the two most important ingredients. When you start looking at Google Analytics, you’ll feel discouraged. You just wrote an amazing article and you have one view on the post: yours. I want to emphasize that Rome was not built in a day.
Bloggers and websites take time to build traffic and recognition. The more articles you post with the right SEO tags, the more searchable you become. What’s amazing is I have some articles I wrote over six months ago that still consistently bring in daily traffic to my website. Writing a strong post is like receiving royalties!
But don’t be discouraged if your traffic isn’t growing — just keep writing, sharing, and analyzing. Eventually, your traffic will come.
Expert and Passion
To become a successful blogger, you must write about a topic that you’re an expert in and have passion about. When I say expert, I don’t mean you need to be able to teach this stuff at the professor level. You just need to know more than the average person. And passion is really important, because sometimes you’re going to wonder what the point of blogging is (especially in the early stages). You’ll need a topic that excites you and that you would share with the world even if your mom was the only other person reading it.
Start a Blog Today so it Leads to More Job and Partnership Opportunities Tomorrow
In sum, start today and take action. Do you enjoy writing, speaking, or making videos? Pick a platform you can share your knowledge and expertise in. Working to a place where it opens up doors takes time, but if you let people search for you or share your helpful content, you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that open up with a bit of dedication and persistence.
Emily Liou is the founder of CultiVitae, a career blog where she inspires and guides professionals seeking career transitions through her blogs, e-courses, and career coaching programs. She has interviewed thousands of job seekers and has guided hundreds of job seekers to land their dream jobs. Sign up for her weekly newsletter where she dishes out personal and professional development hacks… plus get access to her free career resource library!
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